Too Too Divine scores upset in Nellie Morse

Vega rides 3 winners on sloppy day at Laurel

January 21, 2001|By SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Capping off a big day, jockey Harry Vega drove Charles Lenz's Too Too Divine through the sloppy conditions to register an upset victory in the $75,000 Nellie Morse Stakes for fillies and mares yesterday at Laurel Park.

Vega rode three winners on the 10-race card. His effort aboard Too Too Divine resulted in a payoff of $80.60. The duo completed the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:46 3/5 over a track rated sloppy. Vega also won the sixth race aboard Lady Cordelia ($13) and the eighth race with Beautiful Feeling ($39.40).

Sheldon's Jet, who reluctantly entered the starting gate with the help of five assistant starters, set the pace but could not hold off Too Too Divine and finished 3 1/4 lengths behind in second. Tookin Down finished third.

"This was my first time aboard her," Vega said. "John [Fee, trainer] instructed me in the paddock to stalk the pace for the first half-mile, feel her out and see how she liked the going.

"She was really getting a hold of the track from on the outside, so we swung slightly wide, but we were gaining with every step. At the top of the stretch, she switched leads and she just drew off.

"This was a nice performance and a great introduction for both of us. I'm glad to get this one off my back. This was my first stakes win in Maryland."

Vega, a longtime rider in New England, moved to Delaware Park in the past few years. This is his first extended stay in Maryland. He is fourth among riders in Maryland for 2001 with 14 wins.

Live racing continues today with a first race post time of 12:15 p.m. The feature is the $50,000 Miracle Wood Stakes for 3-year-olds. A field of seven will race 8 1/2 furlongs.

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